Monday, October 2, 2006

Consecration, Sacrifice and Wealth

A wealthy young man came to Jesus and asked: “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Our Lord’s answer was the same as the prophets have given through the ages. It was: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The next question was: “Which commandments?” Jesus listed them: “Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Then came this response and question—for the young man was a good man, a faithful man, one who sought righteousness: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” We also might ask, “Isn’t it enough to keep the commandments? Is there more than the law of obedience?”

In the case of this rich young man there was more. He was expected to live the law of consecration, to sacrifice his earthly possessions. Jesus’ answer to him was: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

As you know, the young man went away sorrowful, “for he had great possessions.” (Matt. 19:16–22.). Many people use this instance as scriptural justification as to why having material possessions and wealth is contrary to the heavenly order. But there is another part of the story that is often overlooked.

Using the experience as a teaching opportunity for his disciples, Christ explained:

“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mat 19: 24)

This statement has served to confirm the assumption that riches are evil and has been the coup de grace to most Christians hopes of being both righteous and materially prosperous. They naturally assume that Christ was referring to the eye of a sewing needle. However, there was a well-known gate in Jerusalem called Needle's Eye. After the main city gates had closed for the night if a traveler arrived to the city after dark they could still gain entrance through the Needle’s Eye which was just big enough to fit a man. It was built so low that a camel could only pass if it entered kneeling and unencumbered with baggage.

A camel is not emotionally attached to their baggage and would make no protest to removing it. The stance of humility, or entering on their knees was also easily achieved since no pride has to be overcome in achieving the position.

A rich man with great wealth and material possessions would have a harder time entering the kingdom of God if his heart were on his riches instead of God. Yes, consecration is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is to give all to the Lord and withhold nothing.

However, once we have gained entrance into the kingdom Christ concluded his lesson by promising, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Mat 19: 29)

The erroneous assumption of many Christians is that Heavenly Father requires sacrifice because He expects His righteous to go without certain things, or to exist in a state of deprivation. The exact opposite is true. When His children are righteous Heavenly Father blesses them with riches and prosperity. The scriptures teach, “it is the will of the Father to give [riches] unto you.” However, the scripture concludes with a warning, “but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.” (D&C 38:39) The problem arises when those blessed stop looking to their benefactor and instead focus on the blessings they have received, “Ye have set your hearts upon [your riches], and have not hearkened unto the words of Him who gave them unto you.” (Hel 13:21) God uses the law of sacrifice as a tool in order to keep our minds and hearts on Him.

Another oft quoted scripture in Matthew says: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt 6:24) Mammon is defined as riches or wealth. In other words, Ye cannot serve Heavenly Father and money. One is the true and living God, the other… just one of many inanimate objects used as the focus of idolatry.

On mount Sinai the Lord addressed this issue by issuing as the first of the ten commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them” (Exod 20:3,5)

This commandment applies to anything that would take our hearts away from the true and living God. Idol worship comes in many forms. People will worship, money, cars, houses, boats, or jewelry. The idol doesn’t even have to be an object. Sports, hobbies, and even the airwaves viewed on television have taken precedence in some people’s lives. It is not to say that having or doing any of these things is inherently wrong. No thing can be bad. Things are tools. How a person uses them is where the sin or righteousness is determined. A hammer can be used to build a house or smash a finger. The difference is in the utilization of the person holding it. Money is no different. Money is a tool. How a person uses and views money in their lives will determine if they are a good steward or an unrighteous idolater. “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” (Proverbs 11: 28)

God requires sacrifice and consecration as a demonstration that our hearts and minds are on Him and not the blessings He desires to pour out in our lives. The Lord Himself has proclaimed, “the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.” (D&C 38:16) God is the author of prosperity, not the author of poverty and want. He will bless all of His children equally with prosperity and wealth, as each are obedient to the commandments upon which those blessings are predicated.

Covered next time: True wealth determined by wisdom and knowledge. Sharing wealth with others. Blessing the poor temporally. Production vs. idleness.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Miss Papa

May 30, 2006. I'll remember that day. It was the day after Memorial Day when we were all together and had a family barbecue at our house. James and Kristi came down at the last minute. In retrospect we were all glad they came. After dinner the boys were running around as usual. Grandma and Elle were enjoying themselves. James and Michael were talking shop and Kristi and I were playing Soduku on the computer. Daddy was just sitting back watching...taking it all in. We had all noticed that he was doing that a lot lately. Just sitting back and watching us. We wonder now if he might have known.

Daddy was supposed to leave work early that Tuesday so that Mom could go to a doctor's appointment. She had fallen in the driveway and popped her shoulder out of joint. Although back in, Daddy insisted that she be seen for it.

She called me at 3 o'clock to say that he hadn't come. At the time I didn't think much of it and re-assured her that everything was fine and that he probably had some things to do.

She called me at 5 o'clock to tell me that he still hadn't come home. At that point I was concerned. Then she told me, "Aimee, can't feel him." Mom's always had this special connection to Daddy. She called it "mind sync-ing". Up until then, if someone had told me that we can feel the ones we love I wouldn't have believed them. When she said that, I thought of my father and there was a void in my consciousness. I couldn't feel him either. Until that moment I never realized that I even could "feel" someone.

It's strange to think now, but my first phone call was to the CHP to see if there had been any reports of motorcycle accidents. The man I spoke with said there was nothing, but wanted to get all Daddy's information just in case. It should have struck me then... I referred to my Dad as Ron, but after giving just enough information to the officer he referred to him as Ronald. I suppose it's a policy not to give information of such a sensitive nature over the phone.

After getting all the information from me and then my mom within minutes my mom got a call from the Oakland county hospital that Daddy was there and in critical condition. She called me, I called James and then immediately got everyone loaded up to pick mom up and take her to the hospital.

When we got to mom's house I ran in to get her so we could go. She was visibly numb and at a loss of what to do next. I was in such a rush to get there I didn't pay much attention to the police car that had pulled into the court. I figured they were there to tell us about the accident. Whatever. We've got to get to the hospital! When we went to the door to go out both the boys were there. I flipped out. "What are you doing! Get back in the car! We've got to go!" Michael had just unloaded them and they were very confused. I stormed out to Michael who was in the driveway. "Why'd you unload the kids?! We've got to go!"

His face was full of so much compassion to my ignorance, sadness for my loss and sincerity in what he had to tel me, "Aimee, your Dad didn't make it." My mind started racing, "No...he's in critical condition....we've got to go"
My first impulse was to punch him really hard for playing such a cruel and sick joke.
"Aimee, I knew as soon as we pulled up and the police car was already here. They don't come unless it's to tell you that the person has died. When you went inside I went over to the officer and said, 'He's gone, isn't he' and he just nodded."

I went in and told my mom the news. She didn't have a reaction. She just looked back at me. I told her there were officers there to give her the news. She went downstairs to the officer and cleric and said bluntly, "I understand you're here to tell me my husband's dead." My mom and the men talked. Michael started making phone calls. I knelt down to the boys and told them, "Boys, Papa crashed his motorcycle..." Hunter got excited and threw up his arms, "Hurray! CRASH!!!" "No, honey...Papa got big owies. Papa died. He went to heaven to be with Heavenly Father." "Papa died?" Ethan somewhat understood, but Hunter had no concept of what was wrong or why I was crying...other than Papa had owies.

I called Ann, my visiting teaching companion. I told her what happened and asked if she could take care of the boys while we went to the hospital. When we got there she came out and hugged me and we cried together. I don't remember crying before that...just being numb.

We went to the hospital anyway. Michael had called the Foley's and they had dropped everything and came right over. Jenny was over at their house when they got the call. She told me later she's never seen them move so fast. Mom rode with Foley's to the hospital. Michael and I went with Elle. I'm not sure now why we went other than to have something to do. We talked to the attending physician in the ER. He said they were surprised how good he looked coming in for just having been in a motorcycle accident. He was able to tell them his name and then suddenly went downhill. They did everything they could to save him.

The Bishop, Shawn, and Steve came to the hospital to meet us. It's moments like these that you in part realize the amazing support structure of the Saints.

James and Kristi came about an hour after we got the hospital and talked to the doctor. They walked into the room, with expectant looks of optimism. I wonder how we looked. We all looked around at each other. Who was going to tell them? Mom stood up and broke the news. Kristi gasped and James looked as if he had been punched in the face. Kristi accusingly asked me if I knew when I had first called them. I knew she was feeling the same way that I did when Michael told me. I shook my head no.

James just stood there in shock. Michael took him outside, "C'mon man...I gotta tell you something." I guess it takes another man to understand the delicacies of personal mourning. Outside the room full of familiar faces and into the hall full of strangers, Michael bulled into him with a hug and they cried together.

Kristi said she felt like she was experiencing her father's death all over again. We were there when she got the news. It's awful to be on one side of the conversation...knowing someone has died, witnessing the grief... and not knowing who to mourn.

I went out to Michael and James. It occurred to me just then....Only weeks before we had been at Jen and Dave's house with James and Kristi. James said something to Michael which perked my ears and Michael tried to play it off. But it was too late. The beans were spilled. Apparently some time previously Daddy was fixing something on the underneath of Mom's dining room table with his drill. His depth gauge failed and he drilled through the top of the table. This is the table that mom has kept covered with pads and thick sewn table cloths for YEARS. Daddy never got to see the wood. But, he always said that at his funeral that he wanted the table to be bare wood. We were laughing so hard that day in Jen's kitchen, because Daddy's funeral with bare wood mom would see the hole in her dining room table, but then it would be too late to get mad at him. "Surprise mom! Dad left you a parting gift!" So in that moment of our grief and occurred to me, and I said to James and Michael, "Well, I guess mom will find out about the table now." The look on their faces was priceless. It was the first time since we found out that we laughed.

We got the details of the accident within the next few days. Michael posted the following to the online community of iH8mud

On Tuesday May 30th Cookiemonsterette's father lost control of his Gold Wing motorcycle when he hit a small patch of gravel on Hwy 24 just before entering the Caldecott tunnel. He remained unconscious until arriving via ambulance to Highland's Hospital in East Oakland. The attending ER physician we spoke with said he came to & was able to give his name but that was it. As they began assessing his injuries he went down hill & the ER staff attempted all life saving measures with no success. He was only 57.

Even with 40 years of riding experience, it wasn't enough to prevent something as little as a patch of gravel. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, due to internal injuries. His helmet was slightly cracked where it impacted but his neck & head were fine. It was his internal organs bouncing around off his rib cage & elsewhere that was the problem.

The family is strong & we know he's doing just fine. It has been a very long week. Tough cause now our little ones don't have a grandpa since my father also passed approx. 4yrs ago. Sucks but we know that he has other things to attend too.

The days of getting back to "normal" were horrendous. I spent the first day wandering around the house in a fog just crying non-stop and listening to Josh Groban, "To where you are" over and over. That first day Hunter kept throwing himself on the floor crying and kept saying, "Miss Papa! Miss Papa!"

We all have our moments. Some better than others. Hunter mourned the longest. We wondered if he would ever stop crying. We took him to Build-a-Bear to pick out a Teddy Bear. We named him Papa Bear and told Hunter that if he ever missed Papa that he could hug Papa Bear. Hunter cherishes his Papa Bear unlike any other toy.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Hunter for Hire

The continuation of the saga...A boy and his bottles.

Ethan hired his younger brother Hunter (2 1/2) to help him on his recycle route. The first day that Ethan asked him to come with him I thought, "Hmmm, 25 cents sounds reasonable"

"Hey Ethan, how about if you give Hunter 25 cents for helping you?"
"Ok. Hey Hunter. Do you want a dollar if you help with my recycle route?"

Well, I guess it's only appropriate that they negotiate the terms without my getting involved. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now.

$1 for 15 minutes of collecting bottles and cans....that works out to be $4 an hour. Despite the minimum wage in California being $6.25 both boys were more than happy with the arrangement. Imagine that!

They were so excited to work together that they took off with out me and I got out to the curb just in time to see two VERY excited little boys running down the street at break neck speed. I started running after them but, they were nearly a block ahead of me running as fast as they could. One pulling, one pushing. It seemed at any moment the little red wagon would achieve lift off.

If any of the neighbors have thought that I'VE been the one pushing him to do his recycle business.... surely the sight of me chasing my boys down the street would have been a testament to the contrary.

Hunter was a very hard little worker. He did have his moments when he didn't want to help anymore, but Ethan would remind him of the dollar waiting for him at the end of the route. (Yes, I realize this is a carrot (Kiyosaki's illusion) and it is NOT my intention to train Hunter to be an employee. He'll have his chance once he can speak a little better and is out of diapers.)

When all the bottles and cans were collected and the wagon was full the race back home was on! The boys were very efficient working as a team. Ethan cut his time out on the route in half. Once we were home Hunter and Ethan each got to wear a pair of rubber gloves and sorted the bottles and cans into their respective bins.

When they were done and back inside Ethan told his brother, "I changed my mind. I don't want to give you a dollar anymore." I stepped in at this point (The LAW & Proper Role of Government). Hunter kept his end of the agreement and Ethan was obligated to pay him one dollar. Ethan got out his wallet and I helped him count out one dollar in change. Ethan was very upset that so many of his coins went to his brother. I think he still is learning that different coins have different monetary values. Right now he'd rather have a pile of coins than one bill even though they might be the same face value. He must think it's worth more since there's more. But if HE values quantity I guess it really IS more valuable.

Hunter was SO pleased with himself and his big handfuls of coins. He sat patiently dropping each little coin into his piggy bank. Ethan got over his angst when he took his load of bottles and cans to the recycle place and got $32 for them.

Ethan takes Hunter on his recycle route any time he can. Ethan gets help and likes it. Hunter gets paid... quite generously and likes it. I get home faster and LOVE IT!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Youngest member of the Chamber of Commerce

Ethan was scheduled to speak today, but we've had a change in plans. He was presented to the Chamber today instead. Next month he will be giving his speech.

He wore a little red shirt with his logo embroidered on it (Thank-you enthusiastic Grandma), passed out business cards and mingled with the business people. Someone commented to me, "Shouldn't he be out swimming or something?" I told them, "Oh, he was doing that earlier today." Ethan thought it was great fun to get business cards from people. He had his in one side of his pants pocket and put theirs in the other side. He went back and forth either talking to people and shaking hands very seriously to looking for rolly-pollies in the flowers.

At the end of the mixer he pulled a chair up to the side of one of the garbage cans and it was all I could do to keep him from going head first into it looking for bottles and cans, "We can put some recycle bins out next time, honey." Fortunately, he had talked to the bartender ahead of time and asked him to save him all of his recyclables for him. He took home a big bag full of them.

As for his speech, this is what I came up with:

My name is Ethan. I am four years old. Two months ago I started my first business. It’s called Recycling with Ethan. I wanted to have my own money to buy things. My mom told me that I could recycle my Dad’s cans and get a nickel for each one. Recycling helps the environment and is valuable to people. I started recycling at home. Then I went to my neighbors and asked them to participate. I gave them a box like this one. (hold up box). They fill their box and leave it on the porch on garbage day. Each week I pull my wagon around the block to pick up their recyclables. I sort the bottles and cans into bins; plastic, glass or aluminum. When the bins get full my mom or dad takes me to the recycling center to turn them in. The money I earn is divided three ways; Charity, Savings and Spending. Every month I send out a letter to the neighbors to thank them and tell them about my progress.

I talk to everyone I meet about recycling. At playgroup I asked my friend’s dad if he had any bottles. He didn’t know what I meant because I didn’t say recycling. At my Tiny Tots class, my teacher threw a plastic bottle away in the garbage. I went up to her and asked her if I could have it to recycle. After that, at the end of every class she would give me all her empty bottles. At my brother’s school I asked his teacher if she had any bottles and cans to recycle. The next week she brought a big bag of them. My Grandma helps me and tells people about what I’m doing. They want to participate too and leave big bags of recyclables on my porch for me. People are my assets.

With my business I am learning to create value for other people and to be productive in the world. People are each so different, but this world is the one thing we all have in common. If you would like to participate in Recycling with Ethan and help the environment please leave your bottles and cans in the marked bins I have set out. Thank-you.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Recycling at Tiny Tots

At Ethan's preschool the children have a regular snack time. Yesterday as Ethan's teacher had emptied the juice container and was in the process of putting it in the garbage he approached her VERY upset that she would put something recyclable in the garbage. He was nearly in tears. When I came to pick him up she came up to me and said, "You must recycle at home." She went on to explain what happened and I told her that he had started his own little recycling business in our neighborhood and that's why he wanted the bottle so badly. I gave her one of his fliers. They were SO tickled to hear of his success and gave him another water bottle to recycle. I related the story to Ethan's grandma.

Business owners who belong to the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce mixer have invited Ethan to come and speak at their monthly mixer. More specifically the invitation came from Rich Geist, Director of Public Relations and Sponsorship and his assistant Connie Howard, head of Community Promotion. He is being presented to the community as the youngest entrepreneur/Capitalist that they know. Ethan's very enthusiastic Grandma, who is a member of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce, was bragging the above story which inspired the invitation. He is scheduled to speak on the 22nd in June (Thursday) at the Solano County fairgrounds from 5:30 to 7:30pm. I'd like to formally invite any of the Free Capitalists (Rick, Michelle, Gabe, Les, etc....) who have the inclination to attend. I thought it only appropriate for one of you to be there as one of the first members of this great Stripling Capitalist Revolution is formally recognized as a contributing member of the community.

As his official speech writer, I'm still formulating his speech in my head, but I'd like to include the thirteen principles, something about "Earth Camp" (that will play into his recycling quite well), a plug for the Free Capitalist project and still have it be short and sweet. I'll post his speech here before he gives it to get some feedback before the big day. Just wanted to give everybody a heads up.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

First time Recycling

It finally stopped raining last week so I decided to let Ethan take his fliers around to the neighbors. We went at about 3pm last Tuesday and not many people were home. He talked to 7 people before deciding he was tired. Two people said no. The first was an old woman who came down the street wanting to know what we were doing at her neighbors house who wasn't home. He gave her a flier. After looking at it for a second she wanted to know what he was going to do with the money, found that part on the flier and said, "Oh. Well, don't bother going to my house." As I recall she doesn't participate in Halloween either.

The other woman who said no said she already gave her recyclables to her brother who was blind.

The other five people said they would participate. I must, a week later, I was nervous. What if they forgot? What if they ALL forgot? I play the "what if" game a little too much ( my detriment)

When we first left the house he seemed more interested in finding snails and bugs along our path. I kept telling him, "Focus, honey, ...focus."

Every single person who Ethan gave a box to not only remembered to leave their "Recycling with Ethan" box out today... they were FILLED to capacity. All of them were displayed proudly on their porches with his label facing the street. A few people even put them on cute little stools to keep them off the ground. It was like he was on an Easter egg hunt. After only those 5 houses his wagon was completely loaded. We took it all down to the recycling place and he got $8.17.

He did it all himself. He pulled the wagon. He loaded all the bottles and cans.

From start to finish it took about an hour. I think if he wants to get more people to participate he'll have to come by another day so he doesn't get worn out or overloaded all on Tuesdays.

I learned something today. Despite all my personal fears, nervousness and "what ifs"... he did it. THEY did it. Everybody did their part and did it well. Ethan didn't ever doubt that he would find his boxes. His only question was,
"Why don't they have a box?" pointing across the street.
"You didn't talk to them, sweetie. They weren't home, remember?"
"Oh. Can we talk to them?"
"Sure! But, we'll have to do that later. Daddy's waiting for us"

I think next week I'll help him write a little note to the neighbors to leave in their recycle boxes.

I took the following pictures along
the way with my camera phone.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Learning the Principles of Prosperity at 4 and 2

Rick has said, “Money is the conceptual realization of value”. I chewed on that for days and after finally having that “ah HA” moment (catalyzed of course by a conversation with Rick) I came up with the following flow chart. (You can click on it to see it better)

This is the third version that has been posted online and The Free Capitalist hasn’t given any feedback on it yet, so please accept it with a grain of salt. For me, however, it’s been very helpful.

Our family has had quite an adventure with using different forms of money and I thought all the parents out there might appreciate the story.

Ethan has already earned more than $20 from recycling with our family the last two weeks and from a church member who got wind (through proud Grandma, People are Assets) of what he was doing on our block and wanted to participate so she left big bags of recyclables on the porch. On Saturday I helped him divide up his money into tithing/saving/spending and then took a trip to the toy store for the parachute he’s been talking about for the last few days.

He saw lots of other things that he liked and wanted but he discovered that many things we’re out of his price range. We couldn’t find a parachute, but he found a shiny plastic sword ($6) that he liked a lot and that he could afford. He was so happy that he wanted to get something his brother would like too. He picked out a little red matchbox convertible ($1). I asked him, “Is this a present for your brother, or are you just going to share it with him?” Share. He made the transaction himself by handing the cashier his dollars (I helped him count it out, of course). On the way out of the store he used the rest of his spending money (50 cents) for a ride with his brother on a stationary car that bounces up and down. (Value=Money->Currency->Fiat->Dollars)

When we got home I gave Hunter (2 yrs old) a treat. Ethan took it away, and I promptly restored it to Hunter. I suggested that if Ethan wanted the treat, why not give Hunter something that he wanted. Ethan traded his new car for the treat and then consumed it all. Hunter was upset after the fact when he saw Ethan enjoying the treat, but he didn’t want to give up the car to get the treat back before it was gone. After the treat was gone and his car had been traded away, Ethan decided he wanted the car back. I told him he couldn’t just take it. So Ethan took his very valuable (to him) sword and traded it for the car. Hunter was eager to make the exchange. (Value=Money->Currency->Barter)

Once Ethan had the car again he realized that the sword was much more valuable to him. Ethan offered the car back for the sword and Hunter refused. Ethan offered his superheroes (whoa!), his favorite motorcycle shirt, but much to his dismay he couldn’t offer his brother anything that he wanted more than the new sword. (Value=Sentimental Value) At the moment of his ultimate frustration I suggested, “Why not offer him a ride on your bike?”
“Hunter, do you want my bike?”
“No, no, honey. Not your bike. A RIDE on your bike.”
“Hunter, do you want to go for a ride on my bike?” (Perspective Determines Action)

Hunter was very excited to go for a ride on his big brother’s bicycle so he immediately gave the sword to Ethan (Value=Money->Promise->Future Usury). Ethan was SO elated that he hugged his brother, told me he loved me and then (most surprising of all) told his brother he could play with his sword when we got home. Wow!

Hunter kept on trying to peddle backwards so the ride on the bike went only about 10 feet before Hunter decided he was done. We took the bike home and went to the park anyway. While we were there Hunter jumped in as many puddles as he could and the deeper the better. (Agency implies stewardship) Ethan ran around vanquishing abandoned sandcastles and heroically battled all the bugs in the grass with his new sword. There was another family there with us whose children gazed LONGINGLY at Hunter jumping in the puddles. Who do you think had more fun? Who got to experience the consequences of their OWN choices? Was Hunter wet? Yes. Did he seem to mind? No, not really.

When we got home I took Hunter upstairs to change his clothes. When I came back down Ethan was nowhere to be found but my bedroom door was suddenly shut and locked. When I went inside Ethan was under my bed.

I told him to come out.

He did.

....You know that look of guilt on a child’s face?

“OK, stick out your tongue.” Chocolate.

Is there any more under there?”
“Can I look?”
“I’m going to look”
“I don’t like you”

I sent him under the bed to retrieve the rest of the chocolate and while he was under there he took another little bite hoping I wouldn’t notice.

After lunch we broke out the scriptures and went over the Ten Commandments in Exodus. I explained how he broke 3 of the ten. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. According to the law he had to repay 5 times what the chocolate bar was worth. If he had been able to return it unopened he would only have to repay 2 times what it was worth.

Just to be clear. If he had taken the chocolate bar and sat at the kitchen table and said, “Hi mom” when I came downstairs, he would have only been spoiling his lunch. However, because he took it into my bedroom locked the door and hid under the bed I knew that in his own mind he was violating a principle and felt guilty about it.

I had his sword, car and bag of savings money on the table. I explained how the chocolate bar was worth $1. He paid $6 for his new sword, but now it was used so it was probably only worth $5. I told him that the sword now belonged to me as restitution for stealing the chocolate bar. When he started to cry I explained that these were the natural consequences of stealing the chocolate. At that he seemed comforted in the ruling but still upset at himself.

It’s two days later and Ethan wants the sword back. So, today he has been doing loads of laundry for me. I’ve been supervising as he’s gone through the sorting, hauling baskets to the laundry room, putting the clothes into the washer and then into the dryer, pushed all the buttons, put in all the soap and even cleaned the lint trap. At the very beginning when he was sorting he started complaining about how it was too hard and he didn’t want to do it.

“OK, you don’t have to do it”
“Can I have my sword?”
“The sword belongs to me”
Look of frustration
“If you want to do the laundry for me I’ll give it to you”
“I want to do the laundry”

After the fourth load he was really getting the hang of it, telling me he knew what to do and he didn’t need me to tell him what to do next anymore. After each load he would ask if he could have the sword and would tell him, “You can have my sword when you’ve finished doing the laundry.” (Value=Money->Dynamic->Creation). After he finished all the laundry he was so pleased with himself for having done it and also happy to have bought the sword back using his own abilities.

Within the last few days Ethan has bought and sold the same sword using four different kinds of money.
1. Bought with Dollars (store)
2. Sold with Barter (car)
3. Bought with Future Usury (ride on bike)
4. Forfeit in restitution for item stolen (chocolate bar)
5. Bought with Creation (doing the laundry)

The terms I am using here and in the flow chart are ones I have come up with myself. I'm sure there are better words to express some of it and I'm open to suggestions.

I think application of the principles is so much more effective in teaching children rather than trying to explain them using only words.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Recylcing with Ethan Flyer Revision


My only question is on the percentages. Yes, saving is a good idea, but I would recommend that you use 100% to learn money management. Take the 50% and do what you were planning on doing to help him learn how to manage money, donate 10% to a cause he feels is worth while (I'm assuming this portion is tithing which is a principle that children can't learn early enough), but use the other 40% to help him save for a more immediate goal. I remember when my parents talked about my college savings account when I was young it was just as good to me as not having money at all, and when I was finally given stewardship over it at the age of 16 when I started working, I literally spent it ALL. I was forced into saving for something that seemed so distant when I was young, that I didn't learn the virtues of frugality and what savings truly is for. So, my recommendation is to have him save for something that he can further produce results with. Use the 50% for the candy bars and the movies, but use the 40% for working towards a goal that is conceivable to him, but seems slightly out of reach... what that "thing" is will probably be up to his imagination and your approval. I hope I'm not babbling, and I'm making sense. College savings just seems too far out. Besides, if through this exercise he learns to be a producer, he won't having any problem coming up with money for college. Just an idea.

Good point! And thank-you so much for your input Genseng. His having 100% control over the money is very important.
We had a talk to discuss something "big" that is a bit more tangible for a 4 year old. He wants to go to Disneyland! I have some Montessori percentage circles that we used to talk about how he wants to divide up the profits. He wants 60% to go towards saving for Disneyland and 30% for everyday spending. 10% is still for tithing.

However, just saying "savings" on the flier will probably appeal to the consumer mindset of the neighbors.

I also changed it from "Recycling for Ethan" to "Recycling with Ethan". I decided the word "for" sounded a little too passive and victim-like.

Recycling with Ethan

My son Ethan (4) has discovered that in order to get things he wants from the store he needs money. I explained to him that if he recycles bottles and cans that he would be helping the environment. That was valuable to people and so they would give him dollars for it. Our first trip recycling he got $2.01. He was THRILLED! He's very interested in getting as many bottles as he can so I suggested that we ask our neighbors to participate. I've made up a flier for him to hand out to the neighbors on our block.


My name is Ethan and I am 4 years old. I want to help the environment. Rather than throwing your bottles and cans away I want to recycle them. I am starting a recycling program on my block. Every Tuesday I’m going to pull my wagon around the block with my Mom collecting plastic, aluminum and glass cans and bottles. All you have to do is leave your recyclables in my “Recycling for Ethan” box on your porch on Garbage day and I will take them away for you.

My mom is also teaching me about money. Forty percent of all the recycling profits will go directly into my saving account for college. Ten percent will be donated. I am going to learn money management with the remaining fifty percent. Every so often I’ll leave a note and let you know about my progress.

We've got some other things to get done before handing the fliers out next Tuesday (04/11), so before then I'd really appreciate some feedback on the flier, wording, percentages and strategy in general.

Thank you!!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Revolution of the Stripling Capitalists

Children are much more apt to learn and internalize things they are taught. Just imagine what the next generation will do based on the truth that we will teach them.

I am a stay-at-home mom with three children. Already I have applied the principles that Rick talks about in teaching them and I have seen a WORLD of difference at home.

Personal liberty requires private property Nothing belongs to the whole family. A toy either belongs to an individual child (or if it was a gift intended for all of them) it belongs to me and I decide to share with who and when. We do not force anyone to share. Sharing is completely optional.

What I’ve observed: There is a LOT less fighting over toys. Property rights are established and protected. With this security in personal property the children are much more eager to share their toys because they know they’re going to get it back and sharing promotes getting shared with (exchange creates wealth). The toys are getting much better taken care of now that individual children have also accepted stewardship over their toys (agency implies stewardship).

When we go over to another child’s house and their mothers force them to share their toys (Force Destroys Freedom and Prosperity and in the case of both parents Collective Action Has No Unique Moral Authority) there is a lot of resentment and the child isn’t that anxious for their “friends” to come play again.

Get what you incentivize I used this one just last night. Somebody did something inappropriate and we brought everyone in to look at the evidence. I told them, either you can confess and get 1 punishment or nobody tells me and everybody gets 2 punishments. The guilty party confessed and was happy about not getting two punishments.

Friday, February 10, 2006

What I learned today

I learned that I need a cell phone.

I got a flat tire today going down the freeway with my two year old son and 3 week old baby girl. With no way to call for help I started walking down the freeway with my son and the baby in the front pack to the next call box.

I didn't get very far.

Everybody who went by me called for help. Two CalTrans guys came by, one tow truck, one police officer and two good Samaritans.

I also learned that a complete stranger will give you their cell phone trusting you to return it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The newest Cookie in the Jar

She's here! Elle (officially Elizabeth Jane) was born after 11 hours of labor, one royally screwed up epidural (TY would really appriciate the story on that one) and TWO pushes. Our princess tipped the scales at 9 pounds 15.2 ounces and was 22 inches long. I don't know how to have small babies I guess.

She came out looking like a bull dog (i.e. all scrunched up and not very cute) but she's fluffed up since then and looks beautiful with her curly blond hair ....Michael is already polishing the shotgun.